Give your joints a break while you’re standing at the stove, with these resilient and beautiful materials for kitchen floors!
We love the look of polished concrete floors in kitchens, but concrete — along with other nonresilient floor surfaces, such as stone, ceramic and porcelain tile — can take a toll on your joints. I’ve heard complaints from homeowners who regret putting in a hard flooring material in their kitchen because of the subsequent knee, hip or back pain they feel after standing or walking on it for a long period. Fortunately there are plenty of softer, resilient kitchen flooring types available that are as functional as they are good-looking.
Sustainably harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork is an excellent resilient floor choice in a kitchen due to its high level of cushioning. It’s available in a variety of colors, patterns and textures, and in tile or plank formats. It is somewhat self-healing but can get scratched and dented. You can mitigate this by regularly applying a protective layer of wax or polyurethane and by using protective felt pads on the feet of your furniture.
A popular budget-friendly option, vinyl flooring comes in both sheet and tile formats and in an endless array of styles and colors. I like to have fun with vinyl; I like to use bolder colors or lay it out in an interesting pattern.
A favorite flooring material for kitchens, wood is more forgiving on our joints than stone, ceramic, porcelain or concrete. It also looks and feels warmer than nonresilient flooring. Some drawbacks to wood are that it can get scratched and dinged easily, and it also must be protected from contact with water.
Not technically wood — it’s actually a grass — bamboo has many of the same advantages and disadvantages as wood. It’s a good option if you are looking to use a sustainably harvested material for your kitchen floor.
Similar to vinyl flooring products, laminates are a budget-friendly flooring choice and are soft underfoot when compared to rigid flooring materials. They tend to be more moisture resistant than wood floors, but because they are not a solid material all the way through, they can’t be refinished if damaged.
Alternate Option: Mats and Rugs
For those who simply must have their hard tile or concrete kitchen floor, there’s always the option of placing gel mats or other cushioning rugs in areas of your kitchen where you spend large amounts of time standing, such as at your sink or in front of the range!